This delightful video demonstrates the capabilities of young children and the satisfaction they experience when engaged in real work. Yes it's shot at a Montessori centre in Sweden however that's really irrelevant, the activity can be replicated anywhere.
Even more importantly the principle of real work is easily established at home. Real work, like setting the table for a meal, watering plants, washing and cutting fruit and vegetables, washing socks, hanging out washing or cleaning and a million other things, is exactly what your child wants (and needs) to do.
If these activities are set up for the child in a way which gives the greatest possibility for success your child will gain valuable skills, experience immense satisfaction and an understanding of their own capabilities which in turn builds confidence and self-esteem.
Getting the right equipment and an appropriate work space along with a clear demonstration of the activity is necessary to enable your child to experience success. If you are able do this the rewards for your little one (and for you) will be immense.
Here's one example of how to set up an activity. If your child is interested in helping prepare dinner you can easily set up a vegetable peeling and cutting activity.
Here are the basics which require consideration:
Where is the child to work? In the kitchen with you or at their table? If it's in the kitchen what will the child stand on to work safely at bench height?
What will you use to designate the child's work space? A vinyl mat works well for both the kitchen and the child's table. Differentiate between mats for food prep and other activities such as craft.
Buy a peeler which is a suitable size for the hand of your child and make sure it peels efficiently.
Choose a knife or a chopper (one which uses 2 hands is often preferred by parents, available on line), make sure it is effective.
A chopping board, a bowl for scraps and a bowl for prepared vegetables.
A sponge to clean the bench or the table after finishing the task. Colour code your sponges so ones used in food preparation are a different colour to those used for craft.
An apron if you want your child to wear one.
A tray to store all of these things on and a designated place to store the tray. This can be in a particular cupboard in the kitchen or on a shelf in the child's work area.
If practical, colour code all items for one particular activity.
Break the activity into steps (e.g.don't introduce both peeling and cutting at the same time, wait until one is mastered then introduce the next) and teach each step by demonstrating, this includes cleaning up and when ready washing up and putting things back in their designated place.
This seems like a lot but once you get the things you need, trays, sponges, child-sized utensils (available on line) and think out your storage system you will be able to set up several activities in a short-space of time.
Always make sure you have enough time to demonstrate the activity before putting it on the shelf.
If I can be of help, give me a call on 0403 226 733.
Good luck, let me know how you get on.